Is it time for your baby to give up the bottle or breast and slowly transition to using an open cup? The sippy cup can be a useful tool in navigating this change since it’s designed to be easily held by little hands. It can also spare parents from cleaning up mess after mess during mealtime. The problem is, the sippy cup shouldn’t become a mainstay in your child’s life since it can lead to some dental issues. Let’s dig into the facts!
How Sippy Cups Affect Development
Before getting into how sippy cups affect development, it’s important to talk about the infantile swallow pattern versus a mature swallow pattern. The former is the reflex that a baby has when they’re breastfeeding or sucking on a battle. As they get older, this type of pattern should be replaced with a mature swallow pattern. This is when our tongue moves up and back to move the food or drink down our throat.
When a child uses a sippy cup, their tongue is kept under the plastic spout. This keeps them from developing the mature swallow pattern they need. This incorrect tongue placement can in turn affect their ability to drink, swallow, and speak properly. It also can change the form of the hard palate and lead to crooked teeth.
Avoid Issues with Sippy Cups
You certainly don’t need to panic if your child is using a sippy cup. However, you should try to limit sippy cup usage to only about a few months. Slowly transition them to an open cup by the time they are two years old. We know that may mean there are some more spills to clean up in your future. It’s a trade off for hopefully avoiding some of the issues that arise during this important developmental stage!
Comprehensive Pediatric Dental Care in San Antonio
Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry is here to help your child maintain excellent oral health through all stages of childhood. We encourage you to bring your child in to see our team twice a year for a thorough preventive exam and dental cleaning. This allows us to catch any potential problems in their early stages. With regular visits and our individualized attention, we hope your child will look forward to seeing the dentist! Call or click the contact link to book an appointment!